By Jared E. Billings
GGG Grandson of Private Anderson Billings , Co. B
GG Grandson of Private William Billings , Co. B
GGG Grandnephew of Private Pearson Billings , Co. G
It surely began in the same manner as that of many units raised during the Late Ruction; eager young men, hungry for glory and adventure, answering with ardent patriotism the call to arms issued by their country. All would find more than they sought.
Most were very young, many little more than boys. Some had probably never strayed further than 25 miles from where they were born. Most of them certainly had no concept of the magnitude of the desperate struggle to which they were about to commit themselves. Many would not survive the experience. None would be unchanged.
But midway through 1862, after nearly one and one-half years of bloody conflict, they found themselves lining up and adding their names to the rosters of companies that would become known as the Twenty-ninth Missouri Infantry Regiment.
The 29th got around. They saw action in both the Trans-Mississippi and Western Theaters of Operation. They served in the great armies of both Grant and Sherman. They marched, they fought, they struggled, they killed, and they died.
They slept on their arms in the rain, they dug trenches in the blazing sun and they ate rancid food. Long periods of sheer boredom were punctuated by moments of abject terror and all-consuming desperation. They made do without the comforts that others took for granted as they endured privation and disease. They watched as their brethren died of both battle wounds and sickness, yet they prevailed to the end, proud soldiers in a victorious army.
It was not long after being organized into a regiment before they were thrown into the jaws of battle. Before the year of 1862 came to a close they were a part of Sherman's Yazoo Expedition, the first attempt to take Vicksburg, participating in the vain and costly attacks at Chickasaw Bayou and Chickasaw Bluffs ordered between Christmas and New Years Days. The first blood, in abundance, had been spilled.
The first half of 1863 found them traversing the swamps of the Arkansas and Louisiana Deltas, following Grant across the river into Mississippi and settling into the Siege of Vicksburg during that long, hot summer. The latter half of the year included a grueling march from Memphis to Chattanooga where they fought at places with the names of Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge and Ringgold Gap.
The cruelest and most trying demands were yet to come. 1864 was the Campaign for Atlanta and the March to the Sea, and the 29th was there, present from the time of the opening skirmishes until Sherman presented Lincoln with the city of Savannah as a Christmas gift.
Resaca, New Hope Church, Kennesaw Mountain. Atlanta, Ezra Chapel, Jonesboro. The 29th was nearby when General McPherson was slain. For the March to the Sea they were unattached, mounted, and led one of the two columns.
In 1865 they were in the thick of the Campaign for the Carolinas. They were there when General Johnston surrendered his army. They then marched, which they did so well, to Washington, DC, via Richmond, and paraded by the podium in the Grand Review.
Then, those who were left went home and set about the rebuilding of a reunited nation, torn asunder by a very ugly and bloody affair. It is certain that every one of them carried the scars of their wounds, both of the flesh and of the mind, to their graves.
Here is their story....
First Blood: Chickasaw Bayou
The Reduction of Fort Hindman
at Arkansas Post
Early to mid- January, 1863
The Push for Vicksburg
Mid-January to July 4, 1863
The Battle Above The Clouds,
November 23 & 24, 1863
November 25, 1863
Ringgold Gap and Taylor's Ridge
November 27, 1863
Duty in Alabama
December, 1863 through March, 1864
The Atlanta Campaign
May 1 to September 8, 1864
September 29 to November 3, 1864
The March to the Sea
November 15 to December 10, 1864
The Seige of Savannah
December 10 through 21, 1864
The Campaign of the Carolinas
January to April, 1865
The Grand Review,
Muster Out and Home
May through June, 1865
The Official Reports
References and Bibliograpy
Biographical Data for Selected Soldiers
About the Author
Links to Other Sites
...and that is the story of the 29th, as it stands to this point.
For comments, suggestions, corrections or additions, email me at:
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Jared E. Billings.
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